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Army chief picked to head Joint Chiefs

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Gen. Martin Dempseygeneral installed just last month as the Army's top officer is President Barack Obama's surprise choice to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, two people familiar with the selection process said Wednesday.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, an accomplished veteran of the Iraq war, would succeed Navy Adm. Mike Mullen as the president's top military adviser when Mullen's term as chairman ends Sept. 30. Dempsey would have to be confirmed by the Senate.

Two people familiar with the choice, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it has not been announced by the White House, said it is scheduled to be made public on Tuesday.

Dempsey is a surprise choice because he just began a four-year term as Army chief of staff on April 11.

Marine Gen. James Cartwright had long been rumored to be Obama's favorite as the next Joint Chiefs chairman. But Obama informed Cartwright over the weekend that he was no longer a candidate, a defense official said on Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations.

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